Latest about COVID-19 and W&M's Path Forward.

Info for... William & Mary
William & Mary W&M menu close William & Mary

Self-Designed Major

A student, working in consultation with a faculty advisor, may create an interdisciplinary major uniquely tailored to their interest. The responsibility for designing a sound academic program of interdisciplinary study lies with the student and the advisor.  Teresa Longo, Dean for Interdisciplinary Studies, must approve the proposed major in consultation with the Committee on Honors and Interdisciplinary Studies (CHIS).

In most cases, students pursuing an interdisciplinary major base their program on a solid understanding of an established discipline and must include courses from at least three departments or programs, with no more than half of the credit hours from any one department or program. Please Note, more than two courses at the introductory level are seldom approved.

Credit Requirements

Credit requirements for an interdisciplinary major may include no more than 48 credit hours and no less than 30. If you are a dual major, you may use up to two courses for both majors with approval of CHIS. You may count up to two courses toward an interdisciplinary major and your minor. Applications with “elective” as a course description will not be accepted.

The course chosen to fulfill the Major Writing Requirement must be designated on your application with a “W." The grade requirement for this designated writing course must be a C- or better. Please note, introductory level courses will not qualify as the Major Writing Requirement for a self-designed major.

Majors are encouraged to include either an Independent Study or an Honors project within the proposed major.

Application Process

Applications for Interdisciplinary Majors must be submitted for approval before the beginning of preregistration for the first semester of the student’s senior year. All interdisciplinary programs must be compatible with the degree requirements for Arts & Sciences.

The application for Interdisciplinary Majors is in DocuSign. The process requires electronic signatures from the student, the advisor, and the Charles Center prior to review and approval from Dean Longo and CHIS.

There are four components for this application (see instructions: DocuSign instructions for Self-Design)

  • Declaration/Change of Major (See instructions: Registrar's PDF instructions)
  • Course Selection for Self-Designed Major
  • Unofficial Transcript (uploaded in DocuSign)
  • One page document that includes the description and rationale for your proposed concentration (uploaded in DocuSign, pdf or Word document)

NOTE: We recommend completing this DocuSign process with your advisor, if possible. (Course Selection for Self-Design Major advisor worksheet.) Be sure to save a pdf of your application. Ensure the application is accurate. If there is an error in the initial DocuSign application, the student will have to start from the beginning. 

*The application is currently closed and will open at the beginning of the fall semester.


Approval Timeline
  • The application approval can take up to 30 days once submitted.
  • If, for any reason, the application requires further details from the student and/or advisor, the application process will have to start from the beginning.
  • Upon approval, an email confirmation will be sent to student, advisor, and the Registrar’s Office. Note: information added to DegreeWorks by the Registrar’s Office can take up to 5 days after the email approval is received.
Do you need to make changes to your Self-Designed Major?
  • Complete and submit the DocuSign Petition for Change in Program.
  • Change in Program review/approval can take up to 30 days.
  • Upon approval, an email will be sent to the student, advisor and the Registrar’s Office. Note: Change in Program added to DegreeWorks by the Registrar’s Office can take up to 5 days after email approval is received.
Do you have questions about the application process (forms, turnaround timeline, or upload process)?
  • Contact Judy Slack, Charles Center Administrative Coordinator, at
Do you want to see examples of self-designed major applications and course work options?
  • Contact Judy Slack, Charles Center Administrative Coordinator, at
Do you need help determining if this is the right course of study for you?
Do you need help finding an advisor?